Christian Rasmussen took the lead of the Indy Nxt championship with a win in the interrupted second race of the season at Barber Motorsports Park.
The race featured two safety car interventions and a lengthy red flag period after a recovery vehicle became stuck in the mud.
Rasmussen controlled the race from start to finish. He got a good getaway from pole and was more than two seconds clear of Nolan Siegel in second when the first safety car period began.
The incident that instigated it was contact between Matteo Nanninni and Jacob Abel. The two had been running side-by-side through several corners, and Abel was on the outside going into the final corner. There was not enough room to hold on, and the pair made contact.
Racing resumed on lap 19 of 35, and Siegel was not able to stay with Rasmussen, despite being free of pressure from behind. That meant Rasmussen was comfortably ahead once again when the second safety car period began.
This time it was Louis Foster who was in trouble. He had been challenging Siegel early in the race, but slipped behind Danial Frost on the restart. He managed to fight his way back through and was looking to close back in on the car ahead when he ran wide through the gravel and into the wall.
The field ran behind the safety car for a number of laps before red flags were waved due to a tow struck getting stuck.
When the incident was finally cleared, there were five laps of green flag racing, with Rasmussen leading Siegel and series returnee Toby Sowery at the restart. Once again, Rasmussen got the perfect getaway and with victory took the points lead.
Danial Frost was in fifth at the start of the final lap, and the round one winner should have been on to leave second in the standings, but an incident meant it wasn’t to be.
It was a mistake that had allowed Foster to come back at Frost earlier in the race, and Frost had slipped further backwards before the red flag. After the restart he was battling to find a way past Josh Green when the pair collided at high speed. Both managed to finish, but dropped down the order.
Siegel instead remains second in the championship. He finished 1.998 seconds behind Rasmussen. Sowery took third, with Enaam Ahmed being promoted to fourth on the final lap.
James Roe finished fifth, ahead of Colin Kaminsky who held off Christian Bogle. Ernie Francis Jr was eighth, while Frost and Green were classified ninth and 10th. Many other drivers had incidents but were able to finish the race.
Early on, Hunter McElrea and Kyffin Simpson had collided while battling for fourth. McElrea was sent into a spin and Simpson dropped down the order. Both were able to continue but had lengthy stays in the pitlane. Simpson was deemed to be at fault for the incident and was handed a drive-through penalty, but had radio problems so did not come in, which resulted in a disqualification.
McElrea finished 13th behind Jagger Jones, who couldn’t get restarted after the red flag, and Jamie Chadwick, who had an incident early on that cost her several laps.
Race result (35 laps)
|1||Christian Rasmussen||HMD Motorsports|
|2||Nolan Siegel||HMD Motorsports||+1.9983s|
|3||Toby Sowery||HMD Motorsports||+2.4034s|
|4||Enaam Ahmed||Cape Motorsports||+7.2734s|
|5||James Roe Jr||Andretti Autosport||+8.1976s|
|6||Colin Kaminsky||Abel Motorsports||+9.2278s|
|7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports||+9.6447s|
|8||Ernie Francis Jr||HMD Motorsports||+10.1627s|
|9||Josh Green||HMD Motorsports||+40.9199s|
|10||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports||+43.2945s|
|11||Jamie Chadwick||Andretti Autosport||+3 laps|
|Ret||Jagger Jones||Cape Motorsports|
|13||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||+5 laps|
|Ret||Louis Foster||Andretti Autosport|
|Ret||Matteo Nannini||Juncos Racing|
|Ret||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports|
|Ret||Reece Gold||Juncos Racing|
|DSQ||Kyffin Simpson||HMD Motorsports|
|Fastest lap: Rasmussen, 1m12.2818s